Atlassian Confluence

Running Project Planning in Atlassian Confluence

Planning a project is one of the most important phases in project management. The accuracy with which you complete this stage will directly impact the success of your project in the future. So it is important to estimate the required resources for project development and use the right tools for doing this.

Atlassian is extensively developing different kinds of tools for running the full cycle of project management. And Confluence can be the appropriate solution for running your planning procedures.

Native Blueprints

Even out of the box, Confluence delivers a wide range of tools for running all sorts of planning activities with no efforts spent. The pre-defined blueprints allow you to quickly do a lot of routine project planning tasks, as follows:

  • track the made decisions
  • collect meeting notes
  • document product requirements

Tracking Decisions

When you work in a company or in a large team, you know that a final decision depends on different factors and is usually made upon agreement of several people. For such situations, you can use the Decision blueprint.

Here you can track the decision status, stakeholders, outcome, background of a decision, and actions to take.

It is quite simple but allows you to effectively track any decisions about the project flow or development. So you as a project manager can quickly go through the history of decisions and find the right one.

Keeping Meeting Notes

We are running meetings on a regular basis during which we discuss all sorts of things. But as it usually happens after some time it is quite difficult to figure out what was actually being discussed. The Meeting Notes blueprint allows you to organize your meetings and keep its subject matter.

You can further browse through the meeting notes looking for their resolutions if you get some doubts within the team.

Documenting Project Requirements

Atlassian has simplified the process of documenting requirements by creating a configurable blueprint. You can always tailor its structure to your actual needs or you can use it as is at the start.

Here your team can quickly specify the goals, outline the background and strategic fit, track assumptions, and, of course, specify requirements with prototypes.

After saving the requirement, it appears on the list with other requirements. So you can quickly access it through the navigational sidebar of Confluence.

Gantt Chart for Project Planning

In addition to blueprints, you can add some kinds of visualization, for example, to show the project phases for identifying the possible issues. And here’s a Gantt chart that can help you with this task.

A Gantt chart is an invention of an engineer for engineering while other industries have also adopted this solution for work. The first prototype of this chart was invented in the 1890s by Karol Adamiecki, a Polish engineer who wanted to optimize project management. Another American engineer, Henry Gantt, more than 15 years after that invented his own version of the chart which became quite popular in western countries.

This chart is quite efficient for scheduling project tasks or phases, managing them, and monitoring resources sufficient for their completion. The chart displays the project timeline on which you can place either specific tasks or project phases in the form of bars. Bars on the timeline can be placed as a sequence or in parallel. It just depends whether phases or tasks can be performed simultaneously or whether should be done one by one. Each task or phase on the timeline has both start and end dates, and the length of the bar indicates the tentative duration of work on it. Over each bar can be a progress line indicating how much work has already been done.

Additionally, a Gantt chart can have milestones indicating some important dates, for example, demonstration, release, or anything like this.

This chart can simplify the process of arranging the sequence of tasks and show you the bottlenecks in the planned estimates. The main problem of this chart that it will not show you task dependencies in case if some task or project phase falls behind the schedule. But for project planning it is not crucial as in most cases you need to get a rough picture of the project scope just to better understand how many resources are needed.

Building a Gantt Chart in Confluence

For building a Gantt chart we will use Table Filter and Charts add-on. It bundles a set of macros for filtering any kind of data in Confluence, further aggregate it with a pivot table, and, finally, visualize this data with the dynamic chart.

Okay, let’s start.

First of all, you need to create a new page and create three tables there.

The first table with tasks will have the following structure:

  • Task Type – type of the task, for example, Analysis, Design, Development, and so on.
  • Task Description – short description of the task, for example, Documenting Requirements, Database Architecture, Interface Design, or something like this.
  • Start and End Dates – dates of the planned work start and completion.
  • Completion – completion ratio of the task with the ‘percent’ symbol.

Click to view the source table…

Task Type Task Description Start Date End Date Completion
Analysis Onsite Meetings 8/1/2017 8/7/2017 100%
Analysis Discussions with Stakeholders 8/8/2017 8/20/2017 100%
Analysis Documenting Requirements 8/15/2017 8/25/2017 95%
Analysis Creation of Mockups 8/20/2017 9/7/2017 95%
Analysis Verification of Requirements 9/5/2017 9/15/2017 50%
Design Design Database 9/15/2017 9/25/2017 0%
Design Software Design 9/25/2017 10/1/2017 0%
Design Interface Design 10/5/2017 10/15/2017 0%
Design Create Design Specifications 10/17/2017 10/25/2017 0%
Design Verification of Design Specifications 10/28/2017 11/7/2017 0%
Development Development of System Modules 10/15/2017 12/31/2017 0%
Development Integration of System Modules 1/1/2018 1/15/2018 0%
Development Initial Testing of System Modules 1/15/2018 1/31/2018 0%
Development Deployment to Test Environment 2/1/2018 2/5/2018 0%
Testing System Testing 1/20/2018 2/8/2018 0%
Testing Penetration Testing 2/10/2018 2/15/2018 0%
Testing Performance Testing 2/17/2018 2/20/2018 0%
Testing Tracking Found Issues 2/18/2018 2/25/2018 0%
Testing Fixing Found Issues 2/20/2018 2/28/2018 0%
Deployment Data Migration 3/1/2018 3/4/2018 0%
Deployment System Integration 3/5/2018 3/9/2018 0%
Deployment System Monitoring 3/10/2018 3/31/2018 0%

The second table with milestones will be of the following format:

  • Task Type – type of the task, for example, Analysis, Design, Development, and so on.
  • Milestone – names of the milestone, for example, RC1, RC2, or anything like this.
  • Date – date of the milestone.

Click to view the source table…

Task Type Milestone Date
Development RC1 1/25/2018
Development RC2 2/3/2018

The third table with events will have two columns, as follows:

  • Event – name of the event for display on the timeline.
  • Date – date of the event. Besides dates, you can enter ‘today’ to display the updated current date.

Click to view the source table…

Event Date
Today today
Meeting with Stakeholders 12/5/2017
Payment 3/15/2018

Once this is done, just insert the Chart from Table macro on the page and move all the three tables within it. As a result, you should have something similar to this one:

Now it is time to configure the chart. Double-click the macro placeholder. On the Settings tab, select ‘Gantt’ as a chart type. Then switch to the Adjustments tab, specify here the correct date format. In our case it is ‘m/d/yy’.

Now save the macro and the page. On the appeared chart control pane, select Task Type, Milestone, and Event as columns with labels. Select Start Date, End Date, Date, and Completion as columns with values. Finally, you can adjust the dimensions, and here’s our Gantt chart.

So just in a couple of minutes, we managed to create a Gantt chart from scratch with the Table Filter and Charts app in Confluence.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this blog post below.